Press release

Criminal record checking procedures to be scaled back

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Employers, charities and voluntary groups can find out how plans to scale back the criminal records and barring system will affect them

Organisations that employ or oversee people who work with vulnerable groups, including children, are invited to attend the event to be held at Worcester. The events will be attended by representatives of key government departments and other organisations, who will explain how the disclosure and barring system is changing.

The events will set out how a new organisation, the Disclosure and Barring Service, will be created later this year to operate a scaled-back regime. The new system will cover only the highest risk activities and close contact with vulnerable groups.

Criminal Information Minister Lynne Featherstone said:

‘Everyone agrees that we should give employers and those running voluntary and community groups the information they need to help ensure that they don’t take on unsuitable individuals.

‘But we need to trust professionals - the people running our schools, care homes and hospitals - to take decisions about who they employ.

‘It is vital that managers on the ground understand the changes we are now making to restore much-needed common sense to the system. I would urge as many people as possible to attend these events so they can be ready to lead the way in implementing the changes.’

The Protection of Freedoms Act, which received Royal Assent on 1 May 2012, sets out how the barring regime will be scaled back to a more proportionate level so it covers only the highest risk activities and close contact with vulnerable groups. Alongside these changes, criminal records checks will remain available so that employers have the information they need.

A first phase of changes come into effect in September and these will be the focus of the two-hour events. The changes include:

  • a new definition of regulated activity that a barred person must not do;
  • the repeal of previous plans for compulsory registration with the Vetting and Barring Scheme and continuous monitoring;
  • introducing a minimum age of 16 at which someone can apply for a CRB check;
  • more rigorous relevancy testing for when the police release information held locally on an Enhanced CRB check;
  • repealing an intermediate category of work involving some contact with vulnerable people or access to their records, known as ‘controlled activity’.

Representatives of the Home Office, Department for Education, Department of Health, the Independent Safeguarding Authority and Criminal Records Bureau will attend the events to explain the changes and answer questions.

The Act also contains measures to reduce the burden and bureaucracy of the current checking process by eliminating unnecessary repeat checks through a new updating service. This will come into effect early next year.

All of this will be overseen by the Disclosure and Barring Service, which will merge the functions of the Criminal Records Bureau and the Independent Safeguarding Authority and begin operations in December this year.

To find out more about attending an event, go to

Notes to editors

1. Events will be held in Liverpool, Newcastle, Worcester, Leeds, Llandrindod Wells, Belfast, Exeter, London, Guildford, Leicester and Peterborough.

2. The Belfast event will be attended by Access NI, The Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety and Department of Education for Northern Ireland.

3. Places at the events are limited to 150-200 apart from the London event which will cater for 400.

4. More information about the changes to disclosure and barring can be viewed at

5. The Protection of Freedoms Act can be viewed at

6. For media enquiries, contact Home Office press office on 020 7035 3535.